NEC U310W Interactive Projector - Image Quality
March 2012 - Anthony Arrigo
NEC U310W Color & Picture Quality
Let's explore the image quality of the NEC U310W Interactive projector. NEC has done a pretty nice job with this projector's ability to handle both its native resolution of 1280x800 and higher resolutions. For testing purposes, I have created a spreadsheet with various text sizes. Just about all the latest projectors perform beautifully when displaying images in their native resolution. This means small 7 and 9 point type look presentable and menu items in particular software programs look readable as well. However, there are times when you need more resolution depending on the presentation, and you might need more screen real estate.
NEC’s U310W handled higher resolutions quite well and was able to display its max resolution of 1600x1200, but I can’t say the image quality was anything spectacular. I must note that virtually no projector with a native resolution of 1280x800 would be able to produce a great 1600x1200 image.
If you plan to work with spreadsheets for a long period of time amongst a group and find you often want a higher resolution than 1280x800, then you should consider paying more for a native 1600x1200 projector. They are quite expensive mind you, but low resolution projectors will soon cause way too much eye fatigue to be usable.
NEC U310W Projector: Color
DLP technology has come a long way, and NEC’s progression towards better color is no exception. They do a great job in color reproduction, but it was determined during my evaluation that the default mode produced accurate yellows and reds, but when switching to other color modes, certain colors just no longer were as good. This isn’t a surprise since color mode switching does often reduce or increase brightness levels which will be evident in our Performance section of the review. In LCD projectors, adjusting brightness does obviously affect a color but does not often change the actual color, just the lightness or darkness. DLP projectors, the NEC U310W not the exception, did have situations where yellows turned more orange and reds tended to shift over to more of a orange color. This change however was very slight and much improved over models offered just a few years ago. The color chart below shows this color shift in different modes. Presentation Mode seemed to produce the most color accurate image.
NEC U310W Projector: Video Performance
Video performance was very satisfactory. I can’t conclude that it is stellar, but very acceptable when you compare to other projectors in its class. If you hook up an HDMI signal from a Blu-ray player, the image is very excellent. Once again keep in mind that the U310W does not support 3D via HDMI. DLP projectors tend to have a higher contrast ratio, and the 2000:1 contrast ratio of the U310W did provide for a blacker black, but in no way competes with home theater projectors in this price range. Keep in mind, this projector was designed mainly for the education market. It can play 3D in 720p analog and other educational video content as well, but the quality of the image was sacrificed when you compare it to how great an image you get using HDMI.